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Tunisia has asked for financial aid: IMF

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The IMF has received a request for aid from the new government in Tunisia and discussions over a new loan program have already started, the Washington-based crisis lender said Thursday.

The North African country is facing a serious economic crisis that is discouraging investors and donors.

“We have recently received from Tunisia, from the authorities, a request for a new IMF-supported program,” said Gerry Rice spokesman for the International Monetary Fund.

“We’ve always been, and will continue to be, a strong partner of Tunisia,” he told reporters

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The “technical discussions” have already begun between the fund staff and Tunisian officials, centered on the government’s “economic priorities, the challenges to be met and the reforms to be implemented to overcome the crisis that the country is facing,” Rice said.

He did not provide a timetable for when the aid could be disbursed.

Tunisia entered a political crisis in July when the president sacked the government, suspended parliament and seized an array of powers. A new government, with reduced powers, was announced last month.

Tunisia’s economy has barely grown over the past decade, expanding at an average of 0.6 percent while inflation has risen at about six percent a year.

The COVID-19 pandemic made the situation worse, crippling the country’s tourism industry and generally hurting businesses.

Tunis has received economic aid from the European Union and is seeking its fourth aid program in 10 years from the IMF, aiming to receive a nearly $4 billion loan before the end of the year.

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